Nyeri County Government has set aside Sh 11 million to go towards the purchase of relief food for the over 55,000 people facing starvation in the county.
According to the County Governor, Mutahi Kahiga, the number of people in dire need of humanitarian assistance in the County is rising with the worst hit sub counties being Kieni East and Kieni West sub-counties.
Mr Kahiga attributed the worsening drought situation to failure of four consecutive crop seasons, adding, the forecast had predicted the possibility of an underperforming fifth crop season due to poor rains.
“We received 520 bags of rice, and 720 bags of beans which has already been distributed in Kieni Constituency. I am aware that another consignment is on the way. While these measures are a step in the right direction, the efforts are not adequate to cater for all in need,” he said.
“My government has looked into realigning our budgets sooner rather than later, and allocated money for mitigation measures. We will on the onset set aside Sh 11 million to purchase food for the vulnerable,” added Kahiga.
He was speaking when he unveiled the county Famine Relief Coordination Committee which he will co-chair together with the Nyeri County Commissioner, Mohammed Barre.
The committee, Kahiga said, will be in charge of receiving donations for the drought victims and coordinating distribution of aid to those affected.
At the same time, the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) in Nyeri is in the process of sourcing dairy meal for more than 30,000 livestock that are facing starvation in Kieni constituency.
According to the NDMA county coordinator Lordman Lekalkuli, in addition to feeds, 10,000 livestock will be vaccinated while 5,000 others will be slaughtered and distributed through the offtake programme.
“As NDMA we are trying to requisition for livestock feeds. We are targeting close to 20,000 heads of cattle that are at risk. For the Kieni East and Kieni West sub-counties we are targeting 11,000 livestock. We are also liaising with other partners to ensure that at least they can intervene in areas of water provision and vaccination,” said Lekalkuli in phone interview with KNA.
Lekalkuli also said that with the help of the county government, the agency had already distributed the first consignment of relief food to Kieni residents but at the same time warned that the numbers of those affected could surpass the 100,000 mark once the agency conducts a second analysis.
“We will soon be conducting another assessment to capture people in Mukurwe-ini, parts of Mathira and those who live in informal settlements in Nyeri town. The numbers are expected to rise to 130,000 people which is higher than the 55,000 that were initially recorded,” he said.
A report by NDMA says that the County is now in the alert phase with both human food and pasture deficiency.
The report has listed Mugunda, Gatarakwa, Githima, Lusoi and Thegu in Kieni constituency as the most affected areas and in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
Additionally, the NDMA coordinator said that the agency was exploring cash transfers for the vulnerable groups to help them afford food commodities.
By Wangari Mwangi